The dream of biomedical researchers is to fine-tune their therapeutics to precisely target the specific illness or pathogen affecting their patient. Ever since Nobel laureate and oft-quoted father of immunology, Paul Ehrlich, coined the term “magic bullet,” medical science has marched towards more personalized drugs that target key molecules that cause diseases including cancer. 1 We find ourselves now, over a century later, in an exciting era of discovery that has produced many antibody drug conjugates (ADC) designed to precisely target the diseased cells and not healthy cells. ADC uses this strategy to take advantage of the specificity of antibodies while delivering a covalently linked cytotoxic payload directly to diseased tissues to reduce the multitudes of side effects and toxicity. 2, 3 As basic research identifies more targets and antibody engineering procedures improve, the range of antitumor and anti-disease weapons may seem limitless.
I recall having to make hundreds of custom peptides, and even though we used an automated peptide synthesizer rather than doing it by hand like another lab in the building, making a dozen peptides at a time still took hours on the machine and then another couple days for the purification and lyophilization processes. My mentor and I briefly joked about using bacteria and a polycistronic construct to just have the little guys use their ribosomes to do it for us, but the purification process probably would have been impractical. This does make me appreciate the wonders of natural biosynthetic machinery, and I promise there is a point here because we still use animal hosts to initially produce antibodies. Today, let's explore the process by which most commercial and custom antibodies are still produced, including here at ABclonal!
When you consider which of the dozens of biological reagents companies to work with, how can you determine which one is the right fit? There is, of course, a business aspect to making and distributing quality antibody reagents. The source of the antibodies that you rely on for your research will matter in terms of supply consistency, lead time, cost, and the associated services to support your product.
The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine was awarded jointly to David Julius, of the University of California at San Francisco, and Ardem Patapoutian, a neuroscience researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Working independently, Julius and Patapoutian discovered the key receptors (TRPV1, TRPM8, Piezo1, and Piezo2) in our bodies that sense heat, cold, and touch. Their work not only helps us to understand how we perceive and adapt to the surrounding world, but also paves the way for drug discoveries that target a wide range of diseases, including chronic pain, respiratory disease, and cancer.
Cancer remains one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases affecting humanity. According to the Centers For Disease Control, cancer was the second leading cause of death in 2020 for Americans behind heart disease. The American Cancer Society projects at least 600,000 deaths due to cancer each year, despite the fact that mortality continues to decrease each year. The majority of these deaths are from advanced cancer, which are cancers that do not respond well to treatment and therefore cannot be cured. It is when the advanced cancer progresses to a point where it can escape the primary tumor site, a process known as metastasis, that the prognosis becomes grim.
The cell cycle is a series of phases that takes place in a cell as it grows and divides. The cell spends most of its time in interphase. During this interphase the cell grows, replicates its chromosomes, and prepares for cell division. Once the cell leaves interphase, it will undergo the process of mitoses and start divining in order to create daughter cells. These new daughter cells will then enter their own interphase and begin a new round of the cell cycle. The cell cycle and its cues are of the utmost importance, because without the cues the cells can either multiply continuously, forming masses, or will not multiply. These cues are cyclins which controls the cell cycle progression.